Life is not a multiple-choice test and neither is business. The insights we need are not found in brief lists of options. Knowing what worked last time isn’t the same as knowing how to face a new challenge or find a new solution. It doesn’t give someone the courage to experiment, or the confidence to chart a new path. Indeed, the surest way to short circuit innovative thinking is to conclude that you already have the answer.
Are you creating the sort of innovation-friendly environment that generates and implements attractive ideas? You need to be, because the ability to become a source of great new ideas is your most critical business asset—in the insight economy.
Even after years of breaking down silos and decentralizing decision-making, most organizations still cling to the organizational chart. It’s perhaps flatter but it’s still there. So maybe we still need it. If that’s true, let me humbly suggest that at the very least it’s time to turn it upside down.
There is no shortage of research on creativity, what it is, how to cultivate it, and how to integrate it into our schools’ curriculum. It certainly needs to entail much more than teaching students to be “artistic.” We probably have some sorting out to do to determine what approaches will be most beneficial, but let’s at least start sorting.
Many verbs have been put in front of the word innovation, words like foster, promote, enhance, generate, cultivate, improve and imbed. They show up frequently in the literature and I’ve used them many times myself. However one word that I rarely see coupled with innovation in this way is one that I’ve come to realize [...]